Marketing Communications (or “MarCom” to the marketing geeks) is a necessity for any business, small or large. But what exactly is it? MarCom is anything your business puts out to engage customers, fans, or contacts. Websites, emails, catalogs, social media, flyers, logos, advertisements, speeches, and text messages…all fall under “Marketing Communications.” In most circumstances, it’s the first interaction your brand has with a potential customer…and if done poorly, it may be the last.
The primary objective for effective MarCom is to create and sustain a bond between your business and your target customers through consistent messaging and brand building. That bond, coupled with message consistency, builds a trust that enables your businesses to shorten the long-term sales cycle. Since this may sound more like marketing geek-speak than real-world solutions, let’s dial it back a notch and look at some steps to effectively communicate a successful marketing campaign.
First, and arguably foremost, you will need to know who your audience is…who are you trying to reach? Chances are pretty good that your product or service appeals only to a select group of people. If you’re selling beef jerky, you probably want to keep vegans off your list. Do your research, compile your data, and pull together a comprehensive overview of your ideal customer. Give her a name like “Ms. LuLu” and build a world around her. Where does she shop? What does she read? Where does she eat? What does she watch? Obtain all of the outside data and demographics you can on Ms. Lulu to determine the best approach to communicate your marketing message to her.
Next you’ll want to choose your marketing mix and look at options for engaging Ms. Lulu. There are hundreds of ways to market, but not everyone responds the same. If Ms. Lulu is an 87-year-old retired school teacher, digital advertising thru Instagram may not get the same response as a half page ad in your local newspaper. At the same time, if she’s a 20-year-old transient college student with ADD, mailing a 284-page color catalog may not offer the same panache as a one-line SMS text message campaign. Every brand is unique, and it’s rare to find a silver bullet that will slay every situation. Match your options and research to your goals (and budget) to determine your best course of action.
Once you’ve laid out a plan to engage Ms. Lulu, you’ll need to ensure your messaging is consistent, and that the look and feel of your brand is ready to engage. As basic as it sounds, your logo and taglines should be identical throughout all of your messaging. When a customer is intrigued enough by an email to click it, will he or she receive the same look and feel when landing on your website? Successful marketing campaigns stick with the same colors, fonts, and style throughout all of their channels, seldom deviating from a strict guide. Positioning key messages in each of your communications that can be recognized across all platforms will lend tremendous creditability to your brand and marketing efforts.
Finally, deploy your selected communication channels to Ms. Lulu and begin collecting the data and information it returns. Learn how she is moving through your sales funnel, and how she responds to your engagement. Marketing is never static, it evolves…and successful marketing efforts are not a shot in the dark. An ever-changing world communicates in ever-changing ways, so constantly monitoring your marketing campaigns and messages is imperative if you want to gain any return on your investment.
Make no mistake; applying these steps to your business model takes time and patience…two attributes seldom found amongst most small business owners. Entrusting your marketing to an hourly employee with no marketing background is a dangerous game of roulette that more often than not, ends in failure. Businesses can thrive or die on first impressions, and in 2017, those impressions are being formed on a company’s website and social media pages. Partnering with a company that understands how to navigate various Marketing Communications channels and efficiently leverage the information they provide can have a tremendous impact on every facet of your business. Don’t miss the opportunity to properly manage that first impression, and turn it into a profitable lifetime customer.